Mathieu van der Poel: 'All I know is I will get on my bike tomorrow'

Uncertainty reigns over the peloton as the early season racing calendar is left in tatters

Mathieu van der Poel (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel says uncertainty over when racing will resume has left riders redundant, in the dark over what to train towards during the coming weeks and months.

"No one can say when the next race is," Mathieu van der Poel told Het Nieuwsblad from a Spanish airport. "That makes it difficult. What are we still training for? Even the Olympic Games are no longer certain."

Of course, Van der Poel admits he knows there are currently greater problems out there that supersede bike racing.

"I'm not just talking about cycling. Of course, all those cancellations are a huge disappointment but in the end, it is only bike racing. There are currently bigger problems in the world."

>>> Christian Prudhomme expects cancellation of Paris-Roubaix but is hopeful for Tour de France

Initially, Van der Poel saw the cancellation of Italy's March races as a surprise blessing, the Dutchman needing more time to recover from illness, but now faces the uncertainty of not knowing what to train and peak for now.

"It's too bad but as a rider you can't help it. So I try not to worry too much about it. I didn't even think those first cancellations in Italy were a disaster. I had been ill anyway and needed time. But now the hardest part is what are we going to train for the next few weeks? When do you peak? Nobody currently knows when we can even start again."

This sentiment is echoed by CCC's Greg Van Avermaet, who also tells the Flemish newspaper he has trained all winter for nothing and will now reduce his workload over the coming weeks.

"It would be absurd to train hard now if you don't know when you can race again. I intend to lower my fitness level a bit.

"Almost all of my winter training was for nothing. For months I worked towards this period but that has turned out to be all for nothing," the Belgian said.

Asked whether he should now turn his complete focus towards the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympics, Van der Poel still doubts whether they will even escape cancellation.

"But will they continue? That is also in my head. It is worrying just waiting for news. That is the most difficult thing, that total uncertainty. All I know is that I will be on my bike tomorrow and train for hours… But why? What for? Do you know?"

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1